100 Cliff Drive


Home of Mrs. Carlotta Cliff and Charlotte and Clifford Cliff V

Carlotta Cliff, the elegant, middle-aged widow of Clifford Cliff IV, Chairwoman of the Cliff College Board of Trustees and President of the Cliffton Savings & Loan, easily qualifies as the most influential and feared person in the county. Everyone lives in dread of her easily invoked disapproval, except, perhaps, her son, Clifford V, more commonly known as "FIVER". Fiver's twin sister, Charlotte, is not so much afraid of her mother as perpetually interested in avoiding the conflicts that her brother's constant screw-ups have resulted in since he made and lost his first bet at the age of three ("Hey Char-- bet you a penny I can spit my watermelon seeds farther than you can!").

Right now, Carlotta is wending her way through the "stuff" the twins have strewn throughout the second story of the house while ostensibly organizing and packing their possessions for tomorrow's return to Cliff for their sophmore year there. Gingerly, she picks up a pair of ragged cut-offs and a tie-dyed t-shirt from the hall floor and tosses them through the door into Charlotte's room. A moment later, they come flying back out...

CHARLOTTE
Not mine! Fiver's!
CARLOTTA
Good God, as inappropriate as they would be for you, they do not, in any way, constitue suitable garb for the only living male Cliff!

Fiver emerges from his room, a stack of record albums filling his arms, and before grabbing the shirt with his teeth, informs his mother:

FIVER
Shows what you know. This is exactly the dress code for tomorrow's frisbee game.
CARLOTTA
I still don't understand why you're moving back into that dreadful dormitory when you're just as close to everything living right here.
FIVER
Even closer to some things. Like you.
CARLOTTA
Exactly. Things have changed since last year when your father and I indulged your little whim to live amongst the general population.
FIVER
Unfortunately, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.
CARLOTTA
Your Father's dead. Nothing whatsoever is the same. Nor will it ever be.
FIVER
Don't underestimate yourself, Mother.
CARLOTTA
Which means what, exactly?
That's enough to bring Charlotte out of her room, her arms also filled with records, to jump in before Fiver has the chance to really piss off their mother. She explains for what must be the thousandth time that...
CHARLOTTE
As it says in the Cliff College catalogue: "The academic traditions of Cliff are enhanced by the experience of living with other student scholars on campus in an atmosphere which encourages the pursuit of matters intellectual even beyond the classroom..."
CARLOTTA
But I'll be lonely without you.
CHARLOTTE
No, you won't. You just don't trust us. Or approve of our friends.
FIVER
Don't worry-- Charlotte will keep an eye on me.
CARLOTTA
And who will keep an eye on Charlotte?
Mother and daughter exchange a meaningful look, frought with unspoken secrets. Fiver notices it, but chooses to play the part of "obtuse guy" and, rather than overtly wonder what they're keeping from him...
FIVER
She's a Cliff chick, she'll look after herself. You trusted her to go to Greece by herself for four months this summer, why this sudden concern about her being a mile and a half away?
CARLOTTA
The Greek trip was a special thing...
CHARLOTTE
Mother... don't...

Fiver now realizes that his mother is going someplace his sister wants to avoid, so he takes it upon himself to follow the detour...

FIVER
Special? What's the deal? A fat farm? You know, you were kinda porking up there last spring, but you really slimmed down over there in the Isles. Or was it reconstructive surgery? No offense, but I couldn't help noticing your jugs have grown!
CARLOTTA
That's disgusting, Clifford! And a perfect example of why I don't want you living with the trash at Sayers... Dennis Dubois, Maud Francis, Karen Leigh, that dreadful little Tom Atkins. Hardly the right people for you to be cohabitating with. The only person who even comes close to being acceptable is Alice Crick, whose Aunt Marjorie came out the same season I did.
FIVER
Came out? Where'd you been? The loony bin?
CHARLOTTE
She means they were debutantes the same year.
CARLOTTA
God, that I should have such a child.
FIVER
I'm not really such a clodhopping hayseed as all that, Ma. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish packing before it's time to go milk ol' Bossie and slop the hogs.
He and Char are laughing hard at their staid, disapproving mother who strides away with a dismissive...
CARLOTTA
I wash my hands of you both. If you want to risk being dragged down by those horrible people, I can't stop you. But I do know that I'll be supervising the Admissions Department a great deal more rigidly than your father did. Clearly the school's standards have slipped down into ...

Her voice fades as she disappears around a corner, but the twins are convulsed by this time and gasping for air. They both drop their armfuls of albums and set about sorting the collections. The Simon and Garfunkel is Charlotte's; the Rolling Stones is Fiver's. As they catch their breath...

FIVER
Seriously, Char-- did you do some special Greek drugs or something?
CHARLOTTE
No. In fact it was probably the healthiest four months of my life. Fiver, maybe I ought to tell you...
FIVER
Then how do you account for the fact that your boobs have gotten truly enormous?!
CHARLOTTE
It's just milk.
FIVER
Wow-- somebody should bottle it!
The silliness of this cracks them both up all over again and distracts Charlotte from whatever it was she was considering telling her brother. They are laughing and enjoying one another as they have since even before they were born, they don't notice their mother watching them from down the hall. At first, true to her well-known form, she glares disapprovingly at their antics, but, their delight is irresistible even to her and, for just a moment, her face relaxes into the adoring reflection of maternal love.



Other times, at 100 Cliff Drive...